All 7 Cleveland mayoral candidates weigh in during environmental forum

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Clevelanders got a chance Wednesday evening to hear from all seven candidates vying to be the next mayor of the city of Cleveland. Current Mayor Frank Jackson, the city’s longest serving mayor, is not seeking a fifth term.

The candidates all agreed to participate in a virtual forum to discuss environmental issues. Although the event was held online, residents were able to ask questions at several watch parties held across the city.

The candidates, in alphabetical order are:

  • Justin Bibb, non-profit executive/businessman
  • Ross DiBello, attorney
  • Basheer Jones, Ward 7 councilman
  • Kevin Kelley, city council president
  • Dennis Kucinich, former U.S Congressman and Cleveland mayor
  • Zack Reed, former city council member
  • Sandra Williams, Ohio state senator

Each candidate gave opening remarks, then answer questions related to environmental issues, such as water and air quality.

The forum, titled “For a Healthier and More Equitable Environment,” was organized by several community groups, including the Ohio Environmental Council.

“We can’t wait for global action, we can’t wait for national action, we need to take action at a local level… We need to look at our emissions, we need to look at how are we planning our community,” Kelley said.

“I am on the front lines, you cannot truly change the environment of anyone, if you don’t understand the environment that people come from. And I can guarantee you, as we walk around and we all walked around, you will find that people know clearly, who has been a voice,” Jones said.

“Look at my record, I represented the largest urban park in the entire state of Ohio, Luke Easter Park, look at all the improvements I put into Luke Easter Park,” Reed said.

“We need to increase the purity of the environment, stop the use of pesticides and herbicides on city owned-land, educate homeowners on non-toxic yard care and lawn maintenance,” Kucinich said.

“I would support constituent projects for our community, making it easier and more efficient for constituents to get loans to have solar on their rooftop… I would also make sure that city buildings had renewable energy,” Williams said.

“We want to make our bike lanes protected. Listen to residents, right, bring back public comment. Do more speed bumps, educate people and try and market and convince people to drive in less, to take the Rapid,” DiBello said.

“It’s a shame that residents of this city had to find out from FOX 8 News that for nearly two years we weren’t recycling… It’s gonna take a mayor who’s gonna be bold, aggressive and do the hard work as investing in what works and what doesn’t work,” Bibb said.

The mayoral primary will be held Sept. 14. The top two vote-getters will proceed to the general election, which will take place on Nov. 2.

Find out how to register to vote, or if you are registered to vote, right here.

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